Enver Hoxha on Salvador Allende: The Tragic Events in Chile – A Lesson for the Revolutionaries of the Whole World

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Article published in the newspaper “Zeri i popullit”
October 2, 1973

In Chile the counter-revolutionary storm continues to rage against the working masses, the patriots and fighters of that country. The rightist forces which seized power as a result of the September 11 coup d’état have established a reign of terror which even the Hitlerites would have envied. People are being ruthlessly murdered and massacred everywhere, in the streets or at work, without trial, and on any pretext. The sports stadiums have been transformed into concentration camps. Progressive culture is being trampled underfoot. Marxist books are being burnt in bonfires in the squares, nazi style. While the democratic parties, trade-unions, and democratic organizations have been outlawed, mediaeval obscurantism is spreading over the whole country. The most fanatical, ultra-reactionary forces of darkness, the agents of American imperialism are strutting on the political stage. The democratic freedoms which the people had won through struggle and bloodshed were wiped out within one day.

The events in Chile affect not only the Chilean people, but all the revolutionary, progressive and peace-loving forces of the world, therefore, the revolutionaries and the working people not only of Chile, but also of other countries, ought to draw conclusions from these events. Of course, we are not talking of an analysis of purely national details and aspects, or of specific actions, shortcomings or mistakes of the Chilean revolution, which do not go beyond the internal framework of this revolution. We are speaking of those universal laws which no revolution can avoid and which every revolution is obliged to apply. The problem is to examine and assess in the light of the events in Chile which views proved correct and which distorted on the issues of the theory and practice of the revolution, to verify which theses are revolutionary and which are opportunist, and to determine which attitudes and actions assist the revolution and which assist the counter-revolution.

In the first place, it must be said that the period during which the Allende government remained in power is not a period which can easily be erased from the life of the Chilean people or from the whole history of Latin America. Interpreting the demands and wishes of the broadest popular masses, the Popular Unity government adopted a series of measures and carried out a number of reforms which were intended to strengthen the national freedom and independence of the country and the independent development of its .economy.

This government struck heavy blows at the local oligarchy and the American monopolies which held all the key positions and were making the law in the country. The inspirer of this progressive and anti-imperialist course was President Allende, one of the noblest figures to emerge from Latin America, an outstanding patriot and democratic fighter. Under his leadership the Chilean people struggled for the land reform, struggled for the nationalization of foreign companies, struggled for the democratization of the life of the country and for the freedom of Chile from American influence. Allende strongly supported the anti-imperialist liberation movements in Latin America and made his country an asylum for all the freedom fighters persecuted by the thugs and military juntas of Latin America. He gave the peoples’ liberation and anti-imperialist movements his unreserved support and was in full solidarity with the struggle of the Vietnamese, Cambodian, Palestinian and other peoples.

Could the big Chilean landowners, who saw their estates distributed to the poor peasants, forgive him for pursuing this course and this activity? Could the manufacturers of Santiago, who were expelled from their nationalized plants, tolerate this? Or the American companies which lost their power? It was certain that one day they would unite to overthrow him and regain their lost privileges. Here a natural question arises: Was Allende aware of the atmosphere which surrounded him, did he see the conspiracies being hatched up .against him? Of course, he did. Reaction operated openly. It assassinated cabinet ministers, functionaries of government parties and rank-and-file officials. It instigated and directed the organization of the counter-revolutionary strikes of the truck drivers; merchants, doctors and other petty-bourgeois strata. Finally it tried its strength in the military coup in June, which proved abortive. Several plans of the CIA for the overthrow of the lawful government were discovered.

These attacks by internal and external reaction would have been sufficient to sound the alarm and make Allende reflect. They would have been ample reason to implement the great law of every revolution, that counter-revolutionary violence must be opposed with revolutionary violence. But President Allende did nothing, made no move. Certainly, he cannot be accused of lack of ideals. He loved the cause for which he fought with all his heart and, to the end, he believed in the justice of that cause. He did not lack personal courage and was ready to make, and did in fact make, the supreme sacrifice. But his tragedy was that he believed he could convince the reactionary forces through reason to give up their activity and relinquish their past positions and privileges of their own good will.

In Chile it was believed that the relatively old-established democratic traditions, parliament, the legal activity of political parties, the existence of a free press, etc., were an insurmountable obstacle to any reactionary force which might attempt to seize power by violence. The reality, however, proved the opposite. The coup d’état of the rightist forces proved that the bourgeoisie will tolerate certain freedoms just so long as its essential interests are not affected, but when it sees that these interests are threatened, it is no longer concerned about ethics.

The revolutionary and progressive forces in Chile have suffered a defeat. This is very serious, but temporary. A constitutional government may be overthrown, thousands of people may be killed and scores of concentration camps set up, but the spirit of freedom, the people’s spirit of revolt, can be neither killed nor imprisoned. The people are resisting, and this proves that the working masses are not reconciled to defeat, that they are determined to draw conclusions from this and to advance on the revolutionary road. The liberation struggle against reaction and imperialism has its zigzags, its ups and downs. There is no doubt that the Chilean people who have given so many proofs of their lofty patriotism, who have displayed such love for freedom and justice, and who hate imperialism and reaction so profoundly, will know how to mobilize their forces and fight the enemies blow for blow to ensure the final victory for themselves.

For the Chilean people this is a grave, although temporary, misfortune, but for the modern revisionists it constitutes an all-round defeat, a complete overturning of their opportunist theories. All the revisionists, from those of Moscow to those of Italy, France and elsewhere, presented the “Chilean experience” as a concrete example which proved their “new theories” about the “peaceful road of the revolution”, the transition to socialism under the leadership of many parties, the moderation of the nature of imperialism, the dying out of the class struggle in the conditions of peaceful coexistence, etc. The revisionist press made great play with the “Chilean road” in order to advertise the opportunist theses of the 20th Congress of the CPSU and the reformist and utopian programs of the Togliattist type.

From the “Chilean experience” the revisionists expected not only confirmation of their “theories” about “the parliamentary road”, but also a “classical” example of the building of socialism under the leadership of a coalition of Marxist and bourgeois parties. They expected confirmation of their thesis that the transition to socialism is possible through parliamentary elections and without revolution, that socialism can be built, not only without smashing the old state apparatus of the bourgeoisie, but even with its aid, not only without establishing the revolutionary people’s power, but by negating it.

The theories of “peaceful coexistence” and the “peace.ful parliamentary road”, propounded by the Soviet revisionists, in the first place, and by the Italian and French revisionists and their other supporters, are responsible to a very considerable extent for the spread of pacifist illusions and opportunist stands towards the bourgeoisie and deviation from the revolutionary struggle.

All the programmatic documents which the Western revisionist parties have adopted since the 20th Congress of the CPSU, absolutize the “parliamentary road” of transition from capitalism to socialism, while the non-peaceful road is definitely excluded. In practice this has brought about that these parties have finally renounced the revolutionary struggle and strive for ordinary reforms of a narrow economic or administrative character. They have turned into bourgeois opposition parties and have offered to undertake the administration of the wealth of the bourgeoisie, just as the old social-democratic parties have done hitherto.

The Communist Party of Chile, which was one of the main forces of the Allende government, fervently adhered to the Khrushchevite theses of “peaceful transition”, both in theory and practice. Following instructions from Moscow, it claimed that the national bourgeoisie and imperialism had now been tamed, had become tolerant and reasonable, and that in the new class conditions, allegedly created by the present-day world development, they were no longer able to go over to counter-revolution.

However, as the case of Chile proved once again these and similar theories make the working masses irresolute and disorientated, weaken their revolutionary spirit, and keep them immobilized in the face of the threats of the bourgeoisie, paralyse their capacity and make it impossible for them to carry out decisive revolutionary actions against the counter-revolutionary plans and actions of the bourgeoisie.

As the genuine Marxist-Leninist parties had predicted and as time confirmed, the revisionists were against the revolution and aimed to turn the Soviet Union, as they did, into a capitalist country, from a base of the revolution into a base of counter-revolution. They worked for a very long time to sow confusion in the ranks of the revolutionaries and undermine the revolution. Everywhere and at every moment they have acted to extinguish the flames of revolutionary battles and national liberation struggles. Although for demagogical purposes they pretend to be for the revolution, with their views and activities the revisionists try to nip it in the bud or sabotage it when it bursts out.

Their deviation from Marxism-Leninism, their abandonment of the class interests of the proletariat, their betrayal of the cause of national liberation of the peoples, has led the revisionists to complete denial of the revolution. For them, the theory and practice of the revolution have been reduced to a few reformist demands, which can be met within the framework of the capitalist order, without affecting its basis. The revisionists try to prove that the dividing line between the revolution and reforms has been wiped out, that in today’s conditions of world development there is no longer any need for a revolutionary overthrow, because, they allege, the present technical-scientific revolution is doing away with the social class contradictions of bourgeois society, is allegedly a means for the integration of capitalism into socialism, a means to create a “new society” of prosperity for all. Thus; according to this confusing logic, one can no longer speak about exploiters and exploited, hence according to them, social revolution, the smashing of the bourgeois state machine and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat become unnecessary.

Under the mask of Leninism and its creative development the revisionists aimed at world domination, turning themselves into social-imperialists. They began with Khrushchevite “peaceful coexistence”, with “peaceful competition”, with “a world without weapons and without wars”, with the “parliamentary road”, etc., and ended up with the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union and the degeneration of socialism into social-imperialism.

Hence, they were against the revolution and the struggle of the peoples for liberation, and were against the communist parties which remained loyal to and defended Marxism-Leninism. In order to achieve their aims, especially the extinguishing of liberation struggles and revolutionary movements, the revisionists made the “peaceful road” the foundation of their “theory”. By revising the fundamental question of Marxism, such as the theory of revolution, and propagating their opportunist theses, they wanted to convince the workers to give up their revolutionary class struggle, to submit to the bourgeoisie and accept capitalist slavery.

On the other hand, “peaceful coexistence”, which the Soviet leaders proclaimed as the fundamental line of their foreign policy and which they wanted to impose on the whole world communist and national liberation movement, was a complete strategic plan to reach a broad agreement with imperialism, to strangle the revolutionary movements and to quell the liberation struggles, to preserve and extend their spheres of influence. The revisionists wanted to use, and did in fact use, this kind of “coexistence”, which was entirely suitable to imperialism and the bourgeoisie, as a great diversion to disarm the masses ideologically and politically, to blunt their revolutionary vigilance and immobilize them, to leave them defenceless in face of future attacks of the imperialists and social-imperialists.

The Soviet revisionists, as well as the other revisionists who managed to usurp state power, destroyed the party by stripping it of its revolutionary theory, rejected and trampled underfoot all the Leninist norms, and paved the way to liberalism and degeneration in the country. In spreading their anti-Marxist theses that “capitalism is being integrated into socialism”, that “non proletarian parties, too, can be the bearers of the ideals of socialism and leaders of the struggle for socialism”, that “even those countries where the national bourgeoisie is in power are moving towards socialism”, the revisionists not only aimed to deny the theory of the vanguard party of the working class, but also wanted to leave the working class without leadership in the face of the organized attacks of the bourgeoisie and reaction.

History has proved, and the events in Chile, where it was not yet a question of socialism but of a democratic regime, again made clear, that the establishment of socialism through the parliamentary road is utterly impossible. In the first place, it must be said that up till now it has never happened that the bourgeoisie has allowed the communists to win a majority in parliament and form their own government. Even in the occasional instance where the communists and their allies have managed to ensure a balance in their favour in parliament and enter the government; this has not led to any change in the bourgeois character of the parliament or the government, and their action has never gone so far as to smash the old state machine and establish a new one.

In the conditions when the bourgeoisie controls the bureaucratic-administrative apparatus, securing a “parliamentary majority” that would change the destiny of the country is not only impossible but also unreliable. The main parts of the bourgeois state machine are the political and economic power and the armed forces. As long as these forces remain intact, i.e., as long as they have not been dissolved and new forces created in their stead, as long as the old apparatus of the police, the secret intelligence services, etc.; is retained, there is no guarantee that a parliament or a democratic government will be able to last long; Not only the case of Chile, but many others have proved that the counter-revolutionary coups d’état have been carried out precisely by the armed forces commanded by the bourgeoisie.

The Khrushchevite revisionists have deliberately created great confusion concerning Lenin’s very clear and precise theses on the participation of communists in the bourgeois parliament and on the seizure of state power from the bourgeoisie. It is known that Lenin did not deny the participation of the communists in the bourgeois parliament at certain moments. But he considered this participation only as at tribune to defend the interests of the working class, to expose the bourgeoisie and its state power, to force the bourgeoisie to take some measure in favour of the working people. At the same time, however, Lenin warned that, while fighting to make use of parliament in the interests of the working class, one should guard against the creation of parliamentary illusions, the fraud of bourgeois parliamentarianism.

“Participation in the bourgeois parliament,” said Lenin, “is necessary for the party of the revolutionary proletariat to enlighten the masses, enlightenment which is achieved through elections and the struggle of the parties in the parliament. But to limit the class struggle to the struggle within the parliament, or to consider this struggle as the ultimate, the decisive form, to which all other forms of struggle are subordinate, means in fact to go over to the side of the bourgeoisie, against the proletariat.” V.I. Lenin, Collected Works, vol. 30, pp. 304-305 (Alb. ed.).

Criticizing the “parliamentary cretinism” of the representatives of the Second International, who turned their parties into electoral parties, Lenin clearly showed where parliamentarianism leads to in ideology, policy and practice. He stressed that,

“the proletarian state (the dictatorship of the proletariat) cannot replace it through its gradual withering away, but as a general rule, only through violent revolution.”  V.I. Lenin, Collected Works, vol. 25, p. 473 (Alb. ed.).

He stressed that

“the need to systematically educate the masses with this idea, and precisely this idea of violent revolution, is the basis of the entire doctrine of Marx and Engels.” Ibidem.

By still advocating the “parliamentary road”, the modern revisionists are simply blindly following the course of Kautsky and company. But the further they proceed on this course, the more they expose themselves and the more defeats they suffer. The whole history of the international communist and worker movement has proved that violent revolution, the smashing of the bourgeois state machine and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, constitute the universal law of proletarian revolution.

“The advance, that is, towards communism,” Lenin stressed, “runs through the dictatorship of the proletariat and it cannot follow any other course, because there is no other class and no other way to smash the resistance of the capitalist exploiters.” Ibidem, p. 548.

In the stage off imperialism, both at its commencement and now, too, the danger of the establishment of a fascist military dictatorship whenever the capitalist monopolies think that their interests are threatened always exists. Moreover, it has been proved, especially from the end of the Second World War to this day, that American imperialism, British imperialism and others have gone to the assistance of the bourgeoisie of various countries to eliminate those governments or to suppress those revolutionary forces which, in one way or another, offer even the slightest threat to the foundations of the capitalist system.

As long as imperialism exists, there still exists the basis and possibility for, and its unchangeable policy of, interference in the internal affairs of other countries, counter-revolutionary plots, the overthrow of lawful governments, the liquidation of democratic and progressive forces, and the strangling of the revolution.

It is American imperialism which props up the fascist regimes in Spain and Portugal, which incites the revival of German fascism and Japanese militarism, which supports the racist regimes of South Africa and Rhodesia and keeps up the discrimination against the black people in its own country. It is American imperialism that helps the reactionary regimes of South Korea and the Saigon and Pnom Penh puppets, which has instigated the Zionist aggression and helps Israel to maintain its occupation of the Arab territories. All the furious winds of anti-communism, national oppression and capitalist exploitation blow from the United States of America. Throughout Latin America, with some rare exceptions, American imperialism has established tyrannical fascist regimes, which mercilessly suppress and exploit the people. On that continent, all the weapons used against demonstrations, the weapons which kill the workers and peasants, are made in the United States and supplied by it.

The fascist military coup in Chile is not the deed of local reaction alone, but also of imperialism. For three years on end, during the whole time President Allende was in power, the Chilean rightist forces were incited, organized and encouraged in their counter-revolutionary activity by the United States. Chilean reaction and the American monopolies took revenge against President Allende for the progressive and anti-imperialist policy he followed. The undermining activity of the right-wing parties and all the reactionary forces, their acts of violence and terror were closely coordinated with the pressures exerted from outside by the American monopolies, with the economic blockade and the political struggle the American government waged against Chile. Behind the military junta was the CIA, the same criminal hand that had carried out so many coups d’état in Latin America, Indonesia, Iran, etc. The events in Chile once again revealed the true face of American imperialism. They proved once more that American imperialism remains a rabid enemy of all the .peoples, a savage enemy of justice and progress; of struggles for freedom and independence, of the revolution and socialism.

But the counter-revolution in Chile is a deed not only of the avowedly reactionary forces and the American imperialists. The Allende government was .also sabotaged and savagely opposed by the Christian-democratic and other factions of the bourgeoisie, so-called radical democratic forces similar to those together with which the communist parties of Italy and France claim that they will advance to socialism through reforms and the peaceful parliamentary road. The Frey party in, Chile does not bear only “intellectual responsibility”, as some claim, because it refused to collaborate with the Allende government, or because it was lacking in loyalty to the legal government. It bears responsibility also because it used all possible means .to sabotage the normal activity of the government, because it united with the forces of the Right to undermine the nationalized economy and to create confusion in the country, because it perpetrated a thousand and one acts of subversion. It fought to create that spiritual and political climate that was the prelude to the counter-revolution.

The Soviet revisionists, too, were implicated in the events in Chile. A thousand threads link the Soviet leaders in intrigues and plots with American imperialism. They did not intend or desire to help the Allende government when it was in power, because this would have brought them into conflict and damaged their cordial relations with American imperialism.

These stands of the Khrushchevite revisionists towards Chile and the theory of revolution had been confirmed before the Chilean events. They had been confirmed in the repeated tragic events in Iran: while the local reaction was killing and imprisoning hundreds and thousands of communists and progressive revolutionaries, the Soviet revisionists did not lift a finger, let alone severe diplomatic relations! These stands were confirmed in the shocking events in Indonesia, where about 500,000 communists and progressives were killed and massacred. Once again the Soviet revisionists did nothing, took no action and did not consider withdrawing their embassy from Djakarta. [1] These stands of the Soviet revisionists are not accidental. They testify to the existence of a secret collaboration with the American Imperialists to sabotage the revolutionary movements and to put down the peoples’ liberation struggles.

This stand sheds light on the demagogic character of the much publicized severance of diplomatic relations with Chile now.

Such is the reality. The fine words about their alleged solidarity with the Chilean people, like all their other demagogic catch-cries, are simply to deceive public opinion and to conceal their betrayal of the revolution and the peoples’ liberation movements.

The Soviet government severed diplomatic relations with Chile in order to exploit the opportunity to pose as a supporter of the victims of reaction, as if it is on the side of those who struggle for freedom and independence and the revisionists are defenders of progressive regimes. The Soviet revisionists help any progressive regime just so long as this assists their imperialist interests. But they go no further. Indeed, they are not ashamed to maintain regular diplomatic ties with such a discredited and bankrupt regime as that of Lon Nol, while they keep silent about such a great liberation struggle as that of the Cambodian people.

The events in Chile once again revealed all of the grave tragedy the peoples of Latin America are experiencing. Likewise, they brought to light again the shortcomings, limitations and weaknesses of the revolution on that continent, the very great difficulties and hardships it is undergoing. But they provide a lesson not only for the revolutionaries of Latin America. All the revolutionaries of the world, all those who fight for national and social liberation against imperialist interference and violence, for democracy and the progress of mankind should draw lessons from them. This includes the revolutionaries of the Soviet Union, who must rise against the revisionist rulers and overthrow them along with all their opportunist and anti-Leninist theories. Likewise, the revolutionaries of Italy, France and other developed capitalist countries ought to draw lessons from the Chilean events, and fight revisionism resolutely, rejecting the reactionary theories of the “peaceful parliamentary roads” which the Togliattists and the other revisionists propagate.

We believe that the events in Chile, the fascist attack of reaction against the democratic victories of the Chilean people, the brutal interference of American imperialism and its support for the military junta will encourage all the peoples of the world to be vigilant, to resolutely reject the demagogic slogans of the imperialists, revisionists and opportunists of every hue, and mobilize all their forces in courageous defence of their national freedom and independence, peace and security.

[1] The Soviet revisionists expelled the correspondent of “Harjan Rakjat”, organ of the CP of Indonesia, from the Soviet Union and welcomed the visit of Adam Malik, then foreign minister of the Indonesian fascist regime. They also continued to supply Soviet weapons to Indonesia.

“Against Modern Revisionism
1971-1975”

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